Monday, November 18, 2013
A Look At Astros Prospect Andrew Thurman
The 21-year-old right-handed pitcher out of UC Irvine was taken in the second round (40th overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, becoming the first UC Irvine player to be drafted in the second round of an MLB Draft since first baseman Jeff Malinoff in 1974 (California Angels).
As a sophomore at UC Irvine, Thurman sported a 2.66 ERA along with 69 strikeouts and just 23 walks in 98 innings pitched.
With a solid 6'3" 205 pound frame, he has the potential to be an innings eater in future for the Astros. He has a very consistent delivery and a smooth arm circle with a compact arm path and quick release, which will limit the wear and tear on his throwing arm. He can throw four pitches (fastball, curveball, slider and changeup) and is very consistent with all of them. His consistency with his arsenal of pitches has certainly helped him in the minors, and will definitely help him on his journey to the big leagues.
Thurman can consistently work his fastball in the 91-94 mph range deep into starts, and his command is great enough to work both sides of the plate against both right-handed and left-handed hitters. The only real "weakness" in his fastball is that it lacks movement and late life, which could be a problem for Thurman moving forward.
He throws his curve with a tight rotation in the 73-76 mph range with a consistent release point. He uses this pitch very well to keep hitters off balance. He also doesn't shy away from going back-door on left-handed hitters. His efficiency to locate his curveball will be a key to his success against hitters late into starts.
His slider is by far the weakest and least consistent pitch in his arsenal, but it improved immensely in the 2013 season. It'll sit between the 78-82 mph range. However, he has cleaned up the slurve-like look it has had in the past year, which is a big improvement. It's still a pitch he can use to keep hitters off-balance, but also a pitch that he needs to improve on a little bit more down the road. If he can work on locating his slider a little better, he'll be even more of a dangerous pitcher.
His changeup is without a doubt his best secondary pitch. He does a tremendous job of throwing it with consistent fastball-like arm speed. It can run from 79-82 mph, and when turned over well, can have fading action out of the zone. It's another pitch that, when used efficiently, keeps hitters off balance.
Thurman put up solid numbers in the 2013 season while playing for the Tri-City ValleyCats (Low-A). In 39 2/3 innings pitched, he posted a 3.86 ERA along with 43 strikeouts and 11 walks. Obviously he could use some improvement, but as consistent as Thurman already is, I expect him to be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. My estimated MLB arrival time for Thurman would have to be no later than 2016. It should be interesting to see how he develops over time in the Astros farm system, as I hope to see him in the big leagues soon.